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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Underneath the Arches. Sepia Saturday

Arches and steps are the focus of this week's Sepia Saturday photographic prompt. 

Arched bridges, doorways, gateways. signs and decorative details abound in my collection.  So take a journey through the Scottish Borders, and beyond, with tales of history, mystery, monarchs,  murder and marriages. 

We begin in the historic town in Jedburgh with a more unusual shot of the ruined abbey and its many arched windows. 

Jedburgh Abbey was one of four Border Abbeys established in the 12th century by King  David 1 of Scotland.   King Alexander III of Scotland married Yolande of Dreux, France here  in 1285.  Sadly Alexander died only a few months later, leading to disputes over the succession to the crown. 

Lying only 10 miles north of the Border, the abbey was repeatedly sacked by English forces, most notably in 1544 when the Earl of Hertford's army raided the region in what was known as the "Rough Wooing" - an attempt by Henry VIII to enforce the marriage of the young Mary Queen of Scots to his son, the future Edward VI.  
After  the Protestant Reformation   in 1560, the monks were allowed to stay,  but the abbey was used for a long time  as the parish kirk for the reformed religion until a new parish church was built in 1871. 

Arched gateways were a feature of abbey architecture as here at Kelso Abbey.  It too witnessed turbulent times in the wars between Scotland and England. In 1460, King James II was killed  at nearby Roxburgh Castle, within sight of the abbey which was the scene of   the hasty coronation of the infant king James III.

The entrance to the old Newgate Jail at Jedburgh. with two tiny prison cells on either side of the arch.

An atmospheric view of Hundy Mundy - an 18th century Gothic folly at Mellerstain, near Kelso, built by William Adam, the famous architect who also designed Mellerstain House. 

Two views of arches at Hermitage Castle,  near Hawick, with our little daughter playing hide and seek Built in the 13th century on the Scotish-English Border,  it witnessed murder and mayhem. Once a stronghold of the Douglas family,  William Douglas imprisoned and starved to death  Sir Alexander Ramsey.  In 1566 Mary Queen of Scots rode across the moors from Jedburgh to visit James Bothwell,wounded in a raid.  Soon after he became her third husband - and set in train the events that led to her execution

A move south to Yorkshire  - our young daughter against the arched windows at  Whitby Abbey perched high on the cliffs, overlooking  the North Sea.  The first monastery here, founded in about 657, became one of the most important religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world.  The abbey was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's gothic novel. "Dracula", written in 1887. 

Arched Bridges  

One of my favourite views which I cannot resist showing again - 3 miles from my home is Leaderfoot Viaduct which spans the 90 mile long River Tweed  near its junction with one of its many tributaries - the Leader Water.  The viaduct stands 116 feet  above the river bed and each of its 19 arches has a 43 foot span.  The railway bridge opened in 1865 with the last  train running over it  a hundred years later.  

The Scottish Borders is noted for its rivers - and of course its bridges - here the bridge over the River Tweed at Kelso, built i1800-1803  by John Rennie.  It remained the only bridge gateway  the town centre from the south until 1998

 Craigsford Bridge over the Leader Water at Earlston in the Scottish Borders, built in 1737.

A bridge with family connections - my brother standing in front of the cast iron arched Ironbridge in Shropshire,  where our father spent his childhood.  It was the first ironbridge built In 1799 and often described as "the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.  It is now a World Heritage  Site.  Dad's father walked 35 minutes  every day to get to his work at the Coalbrookdale Power House.

An Assortment of Arches

I love photographing decorative details on buildings and here is an arch pattern on the entrance gate to Floors Castle, Kelso.  

London and the gateway arch  into St.James Park, London, closeb to Buckingham Palace.

Another royal connection with an arch in the grounds of Glamis Castle Scotland, the childhood home of the Queen Mother. 

 An arched Pub Sign at Greenwich.  London.

Below an archway across Carnaby Street in central London.   Just off the thoroughfares of Oxford Street and Regent Street,   it became in the 1960's the centre of "Swinging London" with its pedestrian area of small boutiques and cafe cuture.   

And finally, a photograph of steps 
 and memories of a happy holiday with my daughter enjoying the New England Fall. 


  Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
       to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read how other bloggers have interpreted this week's prompt below 


  1. A wonderful gallery of arches. I especially like the historic ones, such as Jedburgh and Whitby Abbeys, both of which we have visited in the past. The best shots though are the ones with your little girl.

  2. So many beautiful archway shots! Could there be an abbey without arches? I doubt it.

  3. So many historic arches and stairs this week. I wonder if I have some that I appear in. Will have to look next time aches appear as a prompt.

  4. The Leaderfoot Viaduct is my favorite here -- such amazing height! And seeming perfection in symmetry...

  5. Hermitage Castle is interesting in that it sits out there all alone on the plain or moor or whatever. (and daughter looks adorable in that second photo of it.) I'm really intrigued by the Hundy Mundy folly. Very unusual.

  6. A great collection of photos. The viaduct is captivating.

  7. A terrific medley of arches. I've visited several including Jedburgh Abbey, Whitby, and Iron Bridge. Jedburgh's history was especially interesting and it's very photogenic.

  8. Thank you, all, for your comments. This was a good prompt for me with all the arches I had in my photo collection - but hardly ant stairs.

  9. Thank you, all, for your comments. This was a good prompt for me with all the arches I had in my photo collection - but hardly ant stairs.

  10. What a fun tour of arches in Scotland. As beautiful as the ruins are, I can only imagine how grand the castles and abbeys were in their infancy.


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